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Singapore and UK Researchers Team up to Transform Marine & Offshore R&D Through Joint Lab

SINGAPORE, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Building on the fruitful past decade of UK-Singapore cooperation in scientific research and development, A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) officially launched a joint laboratory in Maritime and Offshore Engineering R&D today, to develop innovative technological solutions through modelling and simulation using high performance computing technology, aimed at solving technical issues faced by the maritime, energy and offshore sectors.

The opening of the joint laboratory symbolises both countries' continued commitment to the fostering of greater synergy and cooperation in moving the frontiers of science. The Joint Lab opening was witnessed by UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, The Rt Hon David Willetts MP.

As a globally leading maritime hub that is home to many companies in the offshore sector, Singapore provides an excellent base for the development of innovative technological solutions. The long legacy of the UK as a global maritime powerhouse further ensures the synergy of complementary expertise from both organisations that will greatly enhance the maritime, energy and offshore sectors and bring about economic benefits to both countries.

The strategic aim of the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab is to deepen the understanding of the science and technology deployed in the design, construction and operation of future ships used, and new offshore structures that are utilised for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and renewable energy sources from deep oceans under extreme harsh environments and translate these insights into impactful industrial applications.

The research areas are aimed at addressing two major challenges faced by the maritime and offshore sector:

  • Continuing trend in deep-water offshore oil and gas drilling, where the main challenge is in the more complex engineering requirements, both in terms of the environment in which the platforms will operate, and in their design and risk analysis based on more reliable scientific approaches.
  • Growth in shipping, from (a) the increasing size, variety and complexity of ships and, (b) a requirement for vessels to be "greener" from an environmental emissions viewpoint.

Prof. Alfred Huan, Executive Director of IHPC, said: "This joint lab is another key component toward building a hub to catalyse further R&D activities in marine and offshore companies in Singapore. IHPC is keen to promote the development of high performance computing techniques that can be applied to pertinent issues, that will lead to improved design of offshore structures and better understanding of their performance and reliability in harsher environment and more severe conditions. We intend to draw upon participation from industry players so that the benefits of the research can propagate through the economic sector."

Prof. Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton, said: "The Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute is a world-leading hub for international collaboration which really has no parallel in terms of its scale and ambition. With Singapore being home to the world's leading maritime economy and supporting major strengths in marine and maritime engineering we are very pleased and excited for the SMMI to be working in collaboration with A*STAR here to deliver a number of projects to develop safer, improved and more efficient offshore and marine structures and ships to deliver real and tangible economic and environmental benefits for the future."

Prof. Ajit Shenoi, Director of the SMMI, added: "The SMMI serves as a magnet to attract partners from around the world to draw upon our fantastic research and development capabilities and specialists. The future of humanity depends on us learning together and by working collaboratively through this new collaboration with A*STAR in Singapore is a catalyst for making major strides in all sectors of the maritime community, both academically and commercially."

The multidisciplinary research leverages the complementary expertise and skillsets possessed by the SMMI researchers, and IHPC research scientists from the Fluid Dynamics and Engineering Mechanics departments. The collaboration draws upon IHPC's strength in computational modelling and simulation, and SMMI's strength in marine research. The Joint Lab projects will focus on developing solutions in the marine and offshore sector where the technical challenges are complex and often beyond the capabilities of a single organisation.

The Joint Lab will undertake projects in collaboration with other partners in the maritime and offshore R&D community, including researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS) and the IHPC-Lloyd's Register Joint Lab co-located within IHPC premises.

The first four projects undertaken at the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab cover the following areas: hydrodynamics and fluid-structure interactions, applied mechanics and structure engineering.

The Joint Laboratory is located on A*STAR premises to promote engagement and more seamless scientific exchanges with researchers from other research fields, such as those from the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

The Rt Hon David Willetts MP commented, "As two of the world's top proponents of scientific endeavour, the UK and Singapore celebrate 10 years of close cooperation in pioneering cutting-edge research innovation for global markets. Many leading British companies such as GSK, Lloyd's Register and Rolls-Royce have collaborated with A*STAR, jointly developing R&D capabilities to drive innovation and achieve growth in Asia. This new partnership symbolised in the Joint Lab has the potential to catalyse our countries' reputations as international maritime hubs, translating to a wealth of economic opportunities in Asia Pacific and beyond."

About the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)

As a national research institute supported by A*STAR through its Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) was established in April 1998 to provide leadership in high performance computing as a strategic resource for scientific inquiry and industry development. IHPC seeks to power discoveries through advanced methodologies, techniques and new tools in modelling, simulation and visualisation. Its core research areas are in the realm of complex-coupled systems, mechanics and fluid dynamics, large-scale systems, digital modelling, adaptive and collaborative computing, data mining and analysis, computational electronics and electromagnetics, computational materials science and chemistry.

For more information about IHPC, please visit http://www.ihpc.a-star.edu.sg.

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy.

In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore's manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.

A*STAR oversees 18 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR's research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.

Please visit http://www.a-star.edu.sg

About the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute(SMMI)

Formally launched in 2012, the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton is a major hub for marine and maritime innovation, education and expertise. SMMI comprises over 1000 academic staff and researchers in various disciplines relating to engineering, sciences, social sciences and humanities and cover industrial, business and government sectors underpinning climate and the environment, energy and ocean resources, trade, manufacturing and transport as well as societal and policy issues.

About the University of Southampton

The University of Southampton has a global reputation for academic excellence with an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to delivering world-leading research, scholarship and enterprise. Southampton fully supports a culture that engages and challenges students and staff in their pursuit of development across a wide range of disciplines - from engineering, science and technology to management, law, social sciences, health and humanities.

With over 23,000 students, and 5,000 staff, Southampton is a member of the UK's Russell Group of research-focused universities and actively involved in the World Universities Network.

The University is also home to a number of world-renowned research centres including the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, the Optoelectronics Research Centre and the Web Science Institute, and is a partner of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.

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SOURCE A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)

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